Obvious Adams was first published as a short story in the Saturday Evening Post in April, 1916. Though it was the story of an advertising man, it was quickly recognized as presenting a germ idea basic to outstanding success in the business world and the professions.
Harper & Brothers brought out the story in book form in September of the year of its publication in the Post.
The book met with a ready sale. In reviewing it, the New York Times said, “The young man who is going to seek his fortune in the advertising business should have Obvious Adams for a handbook. Indeed, any young man who is going to seek his fortune in anything might be aided by the common sense and business acumen displayed in this little volume.
“Obvious Adams” soon became a legendary character. He was quoted in business conferences and at board meetings. Heads of companies wrote the author to ask if the hero of the story was a real person; that if he was, they wanted to engage his services.